In this post, I’ll tell you about four kinds of free summer holiday activities that your family would love; and these will also make your wallet sing with joy and spare cash.

Summer holidays could be expensive. I’m not talking only about the costs of transport (in our case usually flights if we are to enjoy some sunshine), accommodation and food.

What really can push you over budget are the multitude of ‘little’ things that your children want and that you think that you ought to indulge in because you are on holiday. Let’s let our hair down, right?

Wrong. Buying a lot of rubbish and paying for activities that you thought you’d enjoy but didn’t can push into debt and/or compromise your financial aspiration.

Do you know what the one think that is completely wasted on me as a way to have fun when on summer holiday? Going on boats. Last time I tried, the experience was worth it (we visited Lalaria Beach and it is like you walk into a postcard) but the after effects (being sick most of the night) was not. I no longer go on boats and immediately save in the region of 100 euro (John and our son love boats so they go without me).

At the same time, summer holidays are for fun; all holidays are for fun. This is what got me thinking about the ways to have free, or as good as free, holiday fun.

‘But, Maria, don’t you get what you pay for?’ – you may ask.

Now I’ll ask you to think back and remember moments in your life when you had most fun with your family.

How are you doing? I’d wager that…

…most if not all gloriously fun moment in your life were not expensive. Very likely you remembered, just like I did, a string of free holiday activities.

So, here are the four free fun activities you can have on your summer holidays.

#1. Go to the beach

I know, I know. Kind of obvious, right.

Yes and no. Most people end up on commercialised beaches where all is for sale, there are beer joints every twenty meters and they all blast different but equally annoying loud music.

This is not what I’m talking about. Explore, my people. Try to find virginal, or nearly virginal, beaches that calm your soul. Sit down and listen to the song of the sea; soak the sunshine and let all your troubles go.

This is what we do: we explore the less commercialised beaches.

#2. Visit local historical sites

It doesn’t matter how small the place when you are holidaying is, researching and visiting the local historical sites is always worth is. Even if you must rent a car to get there.

You can also plan your summer holiday so that you visit a place with rich history.

#3. Do some good

free summer holiday activities

Nothing makes me feel as good as doing good. Not joking.

One way to indulge in free holiday activities is to research the ways to do some good for the community you are visiting.

When we go to Skiathos, for example, we always go to the local dog shelter to walk the dogs. This is run by British volunteers and is need of help and funding. We combine the fun of walking the dogs (helping with walking the dogs) and making a financial contribution: after all, these people are doing an excellent job getting unwanted dogs off the streets and rehoming them.

One downside is that I always want to bring a dog back home and must be reminded that Suzi the Dog is not going to be very happy about it.

If you are interested, please visit the Skiathos Dog Shelter website – you can donate even from a distance.

#4. Go local

Are you one of these people who go to a sunny place in a faraway exotic country to eat chips (French fries) and drink German beer?

Hope not. Because there is great satisfaction to be found in trying the local cuisine (even if it looks gross and even if you suspect you won’t like it), learning about local habits and hearing about the local history.

I always do that and let’s face it; there are three things I like about Greece – the language, the food and vintage Metaxa. I still do Greek dancing.


You don’t have to break your bank account when on summer holiday; you can partake in some free summer holiday activities instead.

You can explore beaches and historical sites, you can do some good and you can immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

If all these fail you can always indulge in some celebrity spotting. This year on Skiathos we saw a famous rapper (my son was in rapture and all I could think is that I didn’t like his ink) and we knew that Johnny Depp is on the island at the same time as us. Not to mention that the yacht of the Sultan of …, well one of the Gulf sultanates, was marooned near one of the beaches we go to.

The important thing is to remember to enjoy your time on holiday; and you can do this for free or as good as free.

What are your favourite free summer holiday activities?